Sunday, June 19, 2011

A [VERY LOUD] Ghanaian Wedding

The other evening as I was getting ready for bed, I noticed that there was some very loud music playing outside. When I awoke, about 7 or 8 hours later, the music was still blasting from a speaker (or rather, probably speakers) down the street. And as I type this blog entry, the music is still blasting outside. Actually, I think it is not quite as loud anymore but I can definitely still hear it and could probably have a dance party in my room and be content with the volume of the music. But even though the music, which we have determined is coming from a funeral party down the road is of a loud volume, the music and volume of the microphones at the wedding we attended this past weekend beats it by at least 100 times.
Saturday morning, Alex, his brother Prince, his (actual, blood related) sister, Delight, and I went to their cousin’s wedding. The wedding was in Tema, which is a port city located just outside of Accra. It took us awhile (about 1.5 hours) to get there due to the fact that we were taking public transportation and had to take 3 different vehicles. Although the event was scheduled to begin at 9am, we arrived around 11am or maybe even a little later. Ghanaian time at its finest! It wasn’t a big deal though and I honestly couldn’t imagine how bored I would have gotten if we had arrived any earlier. We arrived as the engagement ceremony was taking place. Now I don’t really fully understand this whole Ghanaian wedding culture so I don’t really know what this ceremony was about and it didn’t help that most of it was in a local language and not in English. However, the woman who was leading this part of the ceremony kept breaking into song – English love songs. It was quite hilarious although I think I was the only one who seemed to think that it was funny that this Ghanaian woman kept interrupting her program to sing these songs (which were very out of tune). I also was the only American there and I guarantee if there were other Americans there, they would have been chuckling under their breath with me. After the engagement and the exchange of rings, the audience (of about 150 people) was told that the couple would be going to the church for the next part of the program and for the signing of wedding papers. Well, maybe the engagement part of the ceremony also included the wedding ceremony because at the church, about 50 of us just sat in the pews as the couple and their immediate family signed papers behind closed doors and proceeded to return and take photos with various groups about an hour later. The reason I decided to go along to the church was because I assumed that there would be an actual wedding ceremony there but low and behold there was just a lot of sitting and waiting. It honestly was one of the most bizarre things I have experienced. The bride was dressed in her wedding gown for this part but she was not wearing it for the ceremony before departing for the church and upon returning to the location of the engagement ceremony, where the party took place, she promptly changed into yet another outfit. I didn’t understand the point of the wedding gown (which was absolutely gorgeous) besides the fact that she wore it in the photos. In terms of the photos, oh, what a nightmare. There was an official photographer but there were of course, also lots of other people who wanted to use their own cameras and capture the posed family photos. But it was never stated that the guests in the photos should look at the official photographer so in each photo, I am sure that all the people were looking different ways. Not exactly the kind of official photos that I would want from my wedding. It kinda reminded me of prom when all the parents are there and they each want to take their own group photos and no one knows which camera to look at.
We returned to the location of the engagement ceremony where the party had already began since many of the guests decided to stay there rather than travel to the chapel to sit in some pews and wait for the couple to sing some papers…smart move on their behalf I must say. The music was blasting…no, not blasting, rather, BLASTING loud! It was ridiculous and not before long, my head started pounding in pain. I was not very happy and it was pretty evident but I couldn’t help it because the extreme volume of the music, coupled with the screaming of the two MCs on the already loud speakers killed my head. Eventually food was served around 3:30pm and about an hour later, we decided to leave because I was so unhappy. I felt bad for being such a lousy guest but I just couldn’t handle the noise. It was seriously worse than a concert. Worse than anything you could imagine. Its insane the level at which Ghanaians seem to think that speakers need to be set at.  
It was interesting to attend my first Ghanaian wedding even though I am still not clear on some of the traditions of the weddings here. I am sure it is just the first of many weddings that I attend here and I just hope that the rest are not quite so loud!

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